Brazilian Navy sailors pick up debris from Airfrance flight AF447

Air France jet crashed nose-up after 4 minute struggle

Pilots wrestled with the controls of an Air France airliner for more than four minutes before it crashed, investigators say.

All 228 people on board were killed in the 2009 disaster, which began with a stall warning two and a half hours into the Rio-Paris flight, and shortly after the captain briefly left the cockpit at the start of a routine rest period.

The Airbus A330 jet climbed to 38,000 feet and then began a three and a half minute descent, rolling from left to right, with the youngest of three pilots handing control to the second most senior pilot one minute before it plunged into the Atlantic.

The timeline was given in a note by France's BEA crash investigation authority, which said it was too early to give the causes of the crash ahead of a fuller report in the summer.

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